by Arlin Cuncic, June 2014
Sports psychology is a versatile field offering graduates the chance to pursue work in a range of settings. While sports psychologists in private practice may work one-on-one with individuals looking to improve athletic performance, a clinical sports psychologist may be employed in a hospital or research center, studying the effects of exercise on various health conditions. Finding a job opportunity in the field involves identifying potential places of employment as well as locating resources for career and networking opportunities.
Potential Places of Employment for Sports Psychologists
Below are some of the places where there may be potential career opportunities for sports psychologists.
- Educational Institutions: Sports psychologists work in university athletic departments offering consultations to student athletes, as teachers or researchers in college and university settings, and in other school settings (such as high schools) helping athletes gain a competitive edge.
- Hospitals and Healthcare: Clinical sports psychologists work in hospitals or other healthcare settings, using the principles of sports psychology in the treatment of health-related issues.
- Private Practice: Some sports psychologists choose self-employment and offer consulting or coaching services to individuals, organizations, businesses, and athletic teams through private practice.
- Athletic Organizations: Sports psychologists are hired to work directly for professional athletic organizations or smaller athletic centers.
Job-Hunting and Networking Resources for Sports Psychologists
Below are resources that may help in the job search and for networking process among sports psychology professionals.
- Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP): The AASP website includes a list of employment opportunities in sports psychology. The organization also hosts an annual conference and offers members special access to a member directory for networking.(1)
- American Psychological Association (APA): Exercise and Sport Psychology (Division 47): Division 47 of the APA is open to individuals interested in networking with other colleagues committed to exercise and sport psychology.(2) Within the division is a section devoted to running (the APA Running Psychologists) that sponsors an annual race at the APA convention.(3)
- North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA): NASPSPA hosts an annual conference, provides a list of research and teaching employment opportunities, and maintains professional contacts with corporations for networking.(4)
- International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP): The ISSP offers a World Congress and an Expert Databank for networking opportunities.(5)
- United States Military: The website for United States Army Civilian Personnel offers a job search service and information about working for the military.(6)
- LinkedIn and Social Media: Many of the professional organizations dedicated to sports psychology maintain presences on LinkedIn as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Job seekers can take advantage of these resources by setting up a professional profile on LinkedIn, following social media accounts (as accessed from the websites for the various organizations), and interacting with others in the field.
Sources: appliedsportpsych.org | apadivisions.org/division-47/index.aspx | apadivisions.org/division-47/sections/running- psychologists/index.aspx | naspspa.org/ | issponline.org/m_benefits.asp?| issponline.org/m_benefits.asp?ms=5 | cpol.army.mil/index.html
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